How to Pay for Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one has faced addiction, you’re not alone. One in seven Americans will face substance addiction in their lives, according to USA Today. However, only 10% of those people will ever receive treatment.

Addiction is caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, psychological problems, the type of drug, and trauma, among other things. It can build slowly over time and become a chemical craving for the substance.

One of the major barriers to treatment is cost. According to recovery.org, inpatient treatment can cost between $2,000 and $25,000 for a 30-day program. Outpatient treatment can range from free to $10,000, and detox can range from $300 to $800 a day.

Given the high cost of treatment, the idea of paying for rehab can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

The cost to stay addicted is also high. There’s the money required to pay for the substances, along with the incalculable toll addiction takes on one’s body and interpersonal relationships.

Consider these estimations of annual costs of addiction collected by RehabSpot:

  • Alcohol: $4,500+/year
  • Marijuana: $7,000+/year
  • Cocaine: $8,000+/year
  • Heroin: $54,000+/year
  • Prescription Opioids: $3,500 to $70,000+/year

But it’s not just the cost of substances or lost relationships that make addiction so expensive. Health issues caused by addiction can also drive up healthcare costs and raise insurance rates. Moreover, time missed from work, being fired from a job or losing income due to addiction can all take a financial toll.

There’s also the legal costs to factor in, too. A person who is arrested for possession, usage or driving under the influence may also encounter court fees, attorney bills and other financial penalties, along with the longstanding negative impact of having a record in the criminal justice system.

Addiction can cause feelings of a loss of control or helplessness, but there is hope for recovery. Rehab can help people who are addicted to substances overcome the obstacles through services that include detox, counseling, nutritional therapy and relationship building. Rehab does have up front costs, but in the long run, recovery can alleviate future financial burdens, and can be an instrumental way to repair relationships and one’s lifestyle.

The cost of rehab can be expensive, which may discourage those in need of treatment. This doesn’t have to be the case. Those who are facing addiction, and their loved ones, have options to pay for addiction treatment. These range from personal loans to credit cards for bad credit.

Don’t give up hope. Here’s information about how to finance addiction treatment so you or a loved one can get the help that’s needed.

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

Rehab costs are determined by a variety of factors, including the type of substance the rehab is for, the type of facility where rehab is provided (and whether or not the person is living in that facility), amenities and treatment options offered, and more.

Here’s an idea of the overall average cost of rehab:

  • Outpatient Detox: $1,000 to $1,500
  • Inpatient Rehab: Between $6,000 and $20,000 for a 30-day program; between $12,000 to $60,000 for a 60- or 90-day program
  • Outpatient Rehab: Between $5,000 and $10,000 for a 30-day program

On top of the rehab program, a patient may need to pay for certain medications. For example, year-long methadone treatment for heroin users costs around $4,700. Alcohol and opiate addicts may need certain medications for treatment.

In addition to initial rehab costs, patients and families should be aware of the potential for relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Relapse rates for drugs are similar to rates for other chronic medical illnesses. If people stop following their medical treatment plan, they are likely to relapse.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that relapse is a normal part of recovery, with relapse rates for substance use disorders ranging from 40-60%. Relapse can be very dangerous and lead to overdose. That is why re-entry to rehab may be a life-or-death situation when a relapse occurs.

When you or a loved one is seeking treatment for addiction, know that relapse is a possibility. Mentally and financially prepare for the recovery process, which may include relapse. One cycle through rehab may or may not be enough.

When someone has undergone addiction treatment, they may also have had to take time off of work, which may reduce their income. It’s important to be aware of financial pitfalls like these when seeking addiction treatment.

The freedom that can be gained from recovery can be worth the cost. Getting help now can alleviate a greater financial and personal burden in the future. There are options.

Factors That Determine Rehab Price

When you’re considering addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, you’re probably wondering about the costs and what your options are. Here are some factors that may affect the price.

Type of Treatment Offered

Depending on whether treatment is for drugs, alcohol or another substance, the costs may vary. Within drug treatment, treatment for certain types of drugs may differ as well. Treatment centers that offer addiction treatment for more than one substance may also charge differently.

Length of Stay

For patients living in an inpatient facility, the length of stay will affect the addiction treatment cost. Outpatient facility costs will also be influenced by how long the services are used.

Location

The location of the rehab facility will likely influence the cost, due to the cost of living in that state and the compensation for the staff working at the facility. Some treatment centers near desirable locations for patients, like those located near beaches or on horse ranches, may also cost more than suburban or rural treatment centers.

Amenities

The amenities at treatment centers will vary and affect the cost. Some treatment centers offer amenities like spas, horse therapy and yoga studios. Luxury rehab resorts may offer hotel-style living, no chore requirements and single-occupancy rooms, which can also increase costs.

Type of Center

Each center’s organizational model will influence its costs. Some are inpatient, where a patient lives in the treatment facility. Others are outpatient, where a patient lives outside the treatment facility.

Some people who want to recover from addiction may opt to go through a detox process first, which is a supervised program that enables the safe clearing of substances from one’s body. Other rehab models may range from nonprofit to locally owned.

Some treatment centers will offer little-to-no-cost services depending on the population served, such as those that are geared towards military veterans.

Size of Facility

The size of the facility may also influence costs. Typically, smaller facilities will cost more because they offer more personalized service to each treatment patient. Here are some typical rehab costs, according to a 2019 report by Recovery.org:

Type of rehab Costs
Inpatient rehab Basic low-cost, 30-day residential: $2,000-$7,000 and includes counseling, meetings and meals
Standard 30-day residential: $10,000-$20,000 and includes treatment and aftercare planning, gym and yoga, meetings
Premium/luxury 30-day residential: $25,000+ and includes private room, holistic treatments, variety of therapies, outside activities and weekend activities
Outpatient rehab Therapy and counseling: Free-$1,000
Partial hospitalization: Cost depends on medical needs
Intensive outpatient care: $3,000-$10,000
Detox $300-$800/day

Paying for treatment through financing

Most people don’t have access to the full amount of money they need for treatment at the precise moment they need it. However, there are various financing options available. Patients and their families may consider combining several methods to pay for treatment.

Here are some ways to pay for rehab that you might consider.

Credit Cards

Credit cards provide instant access to funds. In some cases, you can also get rewards credit cards that provide spending rewards, including cash rewards, that can help offset rehab costs.

There are also credit cards that are available specifically for medical expenses, like CareCredit. Medical credit cards work just like other types of credit cards, but they may only be able to be used for medical purchases with a single provider.

One of the potential risks of using credit cards is that they can come with a high interest rate or additional fees. If you want to use credit cards to pay for rehab, you’ll want to have a plan in place to make on-time credit card payments so you don’t accrue extra costs from interest.

You may be wondering about how to get credit cards for bad credit. Unsecured credit cards don’t require a down payment and have affordable up front costs, and they may be available to you, even if you aren’t sure you’ll qualify.

Loans

Loans, like credit cards, include interest on the amount of the loan, which must be paid back along with the principal. However, interest rates for loans tend to be lower than those associated with credit cards, so they may be a good alternative for paying treatment costs.

In May 2019, the Federal Reserve reported that the average rate on a credit card that was assessed interest was 15.13%. The average rate on a 24-month personal loan was 10.63%.

A personal loan can get you the cash you need quickly so you or your loved one can enter addiction treatment. You’ll know the exact amount you’ll need to pay back in regular monthly installments. Some loans are unsecured, which means you can qualify based on your credit score and history. With unsecured loans, you don’t have to put up collateral, like a car or home.

There are other types of loans that are offered specifically for addiction treatment, such as those offered by My Treatment Lender. Discuss your options with lenders you’re considering to find the lowest interest rate possible.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding websites, which allow communities to financially support a cause, have become popular options for those needing medical treatment. According to Advisory Board, one-third of campaigns on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe are for medical bills.

Here’s how crowdfunding works. You set up a campaign on the website explaining your cause and why you need help with funds. On sites like GoFundMe, you set a goal for how much you want to raise. You keep what is raised, whether you reach the total goal or not.

You can create a video explaining why you’re in need, share updates and progress, and more. For those who need addiction treatment, getting support from friends and family through a crowdfunding site can be a way to get help.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is a way for a borrower to use their home as collateral for the loan. Equity is available when your home’s value is higher than what you owe on your home loan.

Personal loan approval is typically quicker than a home equity loan, but a home equity loan may come with a lower interest rate because your home is being used as collateral. In addition to this benefit, home equity loans may be tax deductible. This type of loan provides a simple way to get a large sum of money quickly.

Be aware, though, that if you live in an area where home prices are declining, taking out a home equity loan may come with risks. If your home’s value declines, your home loan balance, which is what you owe on your loan, may be greater than the home’s value.

It’s best to discuss loan options with a lender to determine the best fit for your unique financial situation.

Other Rehab Payment Options, Including Insurance

You may also be able to pay for addiction treatment using health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace insurance plans must provide coverage for addiction treatment. Many addiction treatment centers accept various types of insurance for payment.

Veterans who have military insurance, such as Tricare, also have coverage for substance use disorder treatment. Most private insurance plans also cover rehab.

Medicare and Medicaid

Medicare, a federal- and state-funded program, provides insurance for those older than 65 or for people under 65 who have a severe disability. Medicare provides coverage for inpatient rehabilitation care when a doctor certifies that the patient has a medical treatment requiring rehab, medical supervision or coordinated care.

Medicaid, also a federal- and state-funded program, provides health insurance to those with very low income. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid must provide coverage for substance abuse treatment. Patients will need to verify whether the treatment center they’re considering accepts Medicaid.

Government Programs

There are also public-assistance options for substance-abuse treatment. Addicts and family members can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration help line at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to get recommendations for treatment centers. Callers who have no insurance or who are underinsured will be referred to their state office for state-funded treatment program options.

FreeRehabCenters.org also lists free, sliding scale, low income and payment assisted rehab centers based on state.

How to Rebuild Finances After Rehab

Rehab has up-front expenses, but the results can be life changing and transformative. By overcoming addiction, patients can improve their professional lives, earn more and build a more financially secure future.

Becoming financially stable is one key to a healthy lifestyle, in part because financial stress is linked to health issues. To stay healthy and sober, it’s important to have healthy finances, too. Here are some ways to rebuild finances after rehab.

1. Gain Employment

Find a job where you’re interested in the work and can work the required schedule. You can start earning a paycheck and work toward saving and paying off debt. Working after rehab has other benefits, too.

“Research has shown that working helps people overcome substance abuse and stay sober,” according to an article written by Washington Post reporter Lenny Bernstein. “It provides income and health benefits, of course, but also can instill meaning and purpose in their lives, which are powerful incentives to stay off drugs.”

2. Create a Budget

Determine your fixed expenses, such as rent, transportation, insurance and any debt payments. Aim to put as much of what remains from your income into savings. 

Identify what your unnecessary expenses are, including entertainment. Think of less expensive swaps you can make to save money, or find free ways to have fun. This can help you save more and build up a savings cushion.

Financial experts recommend saving at least three to six months worth of income in case you lose your job. While you’re working toward this goal, try to limit unnecessary spending.

Buy groceries and cook instead of eating out. Head to the library to borrow movies, books and music. Exercise outside instead of at a gym.

3. Automate Your Savings

Look into a savings account that allows you to automatically transfer part of your income into savings. Or, work with your employer to use direct deposit and put a portion of your paycheck into savings.

You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA account) and contribute to that with automatic payments. With that, you may gain tax advantages as you save for retirement.

4. Increase Your Credit score

Your credit score can impact your ability to rent a home, purchase a car, secure a loan and more. You’ll want to raise your score and maintain a good credit rating. You can do so by:

  • Reducing your debt
  • Making outstanding payments on time
  • Avoiding overspending and utilizing too much credit
  • Avoiding applying for credit cards and loans you don’t need

As you make on-time payments and minimize your debt, you should start to see your score increase over time.

There are Addiction Treatment Options Available for any Financial Situation

Don’t let finances prevent you or a loved one from getting the substance abuse treatment that’s needed. It’s never too late to get the help you need. Given that there are credit cards, loans, government programs, insurance and other rehab payment options, there are ways to finance addiction treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you can start with this list of resources for addiction to find a rehab option that may work for you.

At The Simple Dollar, it’s our mission to help readers like you take control of your finances; we encourage you to learn more financial tips today.

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